Happy New Year!

Early on what would prove to be the brightest part of the day, Jackie disappeared into the garden and returned with

a range of frosty photographs, each of which is identified upon accessing the gallery by clicking on any image.

By the time we drove out to Elizabeth’s to wish her a socially distanced

the weather was becoming quite gloomy. My sister rushed out with her mobile phone, took this photograph, and e-mailed it to me. We stuck the poster in her lawn, had a brief chat, and drove away.

Jackie then parked beside the old quarry lake which I circumperambulated with my camera.

Shattered sheets of ice filled puddles on the verges

and scattered over the reflecting surfaces of the larger body of water, along which mallards floated.

Hard underfoot, pony poo, passed for Pontefract cakes direct from the freezer.

According to Jackie, seated in the Modus while I wandered among their less pampered equine cousins,

an inquisitive quartet of be-rugged field horses gathered at their gate to see what I was up to.

I was engaged in photographing the hardier breeds feeding on grass and gorse.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s onion rice; tempura prawns; and chicken tikka, with which she drank more of the Rosé and I drank more of the Malbec.

More Rain

Today was dank, gloomy, and oppressed by leaden skies so lethargic as to lack energy for anything more than a slow, steady, seeping of limpid liquid.

Indeed the drizzle was so thin that it was only by observing the bejewelled plants that, from indoors, at times we could not be sure that it was still raining. I became quite damp photographing liquid pearls on gladiolus, hibiscus, Japanese anemone, clematis, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, roses, spider’s webs, begonia, Angel’s wings, and pelargonium, each of which is separately identified in the gallery.

Indoors I also began work on the draft of a special future post.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine; tasty boiled new potatoes; toothsome kale; and crunchy carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montepulciano.

On The Beach (3)


Jackie often points out potential subjects for photographs for which I take the credit. This morning she alerted me to an array of spiders’ webs on the decking.

Spiders' websSpiders' webs – Version 2

All that was picked up by the sunshine on this example was the lower half of the larger web. Jackie held back a few shadow-casting leaves and I bent a bit to include the lower construction. This is what we jointly produced.

This morning we drove over to Shelly and Ron’s with enough of Jackie’s exquisite chicken Jalfrezi and vegetable samosas to feed up to 40 people at Ron’s 70th birthday party tomorrow. I also gave them a couple of 10″ x 8″ prints from Shelly’s party last week.

Down to the beach

We continued on to Friar’s Cliff Café for brunch. naturally, I shot a few beach scenes.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iTCDWQXYlY&w=560&h=315]

Not that one.


Bicycles and beachDog on beachBeach scene 1Beach scene 4Beach scene 3Beach scene 2Beach scene 6Beach scene 7Beach scene 15Beach scene 14Beach scene 13Beach scene 12Beach scene 10Beach scene 11Ice creams at the beach hutsBeach scene 18Paddleboarder, jetskierPaddleboarderBeach scene 17Beach scene 16Beach scene 19Three girlsMobile phone readerBeach scene 20

Against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight and the Needles, we have water activities including kayaking, rowing, yachting, paddle boarding, jet skiing, swimming, and paddling. There is lounging in the sand soaking up the sun, sheltering under parasols and behind windbreaks, turning cartwheels, digging with buckets and spades, kicking beach balls; occupying beach huts, enjoying green ice creams, and, of course, employing the screens of mobile phones.

This evening we dined on fish fingers, chips, onion rings, and fried tomatoes. I finished the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie had imbibed her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.


The Answer Must Lie In The Postcodes

Windmill landscape

Billingford Mill is maintained by The Norfolk Windmills Trust:

Norfolk Windmills Trust (1)

WindmillThere may be more water pumps than mills, for these former relics of times past were used to pump out water from the county’s precarious terrain reclaimed from the sea.

Were it not for the rooftop in between, the Billingford Mill would have been beautifully framed by our hotel bedroom window.  It was this that drew me out early on this dewy morning to wander into the field in which it stood, and along footpaths around it. Willowherb Sunlight lent a glistening sheen to the willowherb running to seed, and a warning glitter to delineate the strands of the spider’s webs thus deterring flies from entering.Spider in web  These circular spun traps festooned the long grasses bent under the weight of the recent rain.

Returning to the side road by the pub, I passed The Old Smithy, The Old Bakery, and various other cottage dwellings, and walked down to a junction at which I turned right to Brome and Oakley before retracing my steps in time for breakfast.

Field stubble

Shorn stubble stubbornly protruded from some of the fields.Cattle at dawn  In others cattle were enjoying their own morning fodder.  The road crossed a surprisingly fast-flowing stream.


As Jackie and I descended the fire escape on our way to the bar, a fast-moving vehicle pointed out a hitherto unnoticed fact.  The fire escape led directly, and I mean directly, into the road.  There was, in any case, no pavement.

The Horseshoes

Our most congenial hostess provided a breakfast equally as excellent as yesterday’s.  She confirmed she had, indeed, prepared all the Sunday lunches herself, having a little waiting help. I have revised my impressions of this establishment, which is in fact much more pleasant than the rather basic room suggested.

Pondering the two Billingfords conundrum, I decided the answer must lie in the postcodes.  That of The Horseshoes begins IP (Ipswich); whereas Sue and John’s home, The Old Chapel, starts with NR (Norwich).  Maybe The Horshoes was once in Suffolk, the county of Ipswich.  Newark, after all, in Nottinghamshire, was originally part of Lincolnshire.  My former home there, Lindum House, translated from the Latin, would read Lincoln House.  Our landlady said she sometimes receives mail which should go to The Street in the other Billingford.

We had a more pleasant drive back to The Firs where we learnt that visitors had continued to trickle in during our absence, and my cards had continued to sell.  After a short stay we returned home, Jackie having intended then to drive us to Walkford with a present and card for Shelly, whose actual birthday it is today.  In the event, after driving several hundred miles in three days, she decided she couldn’t do it.

Berties (sic) has moved to Lyndhurst.  This fish and chip shop graced Lymington Road in Highcliffe for about forty years before being sold to the current owners, who moved to our nearest large village in 2012.  Unfortunately for the proprietors and prospective diners, builders let everyone down over the work in the new restaurant, so locals have, until very recently, made do with a takeaway.  Having eagerly awaited the opening, we learned that it has at last happened.  When she woke from a well-earned sleep, Jackie drove us there where we enjoyed large haddock meals.  Jackie drank coffee, while I had tea.